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Alexander Graham Bell's design sketch of the telephone, ca. 1876.

[Detail] Alexander Graham Bell's design sketch of the telephone

Women's Rights

A year before his marriage, Bell wrote Mabel, "I never suspected that you were one of these people who think women have rights". A careful analysis of the letter reveals that he was attempting to stimulate a discussion on the topic rather than assert male supremacy. The letter did provoke Mabel's response. Search women's rights for the exchange of letters on the subject.

  • From the letters, can you determine what Bell's true views of women's rights were? Do his views reflect common thought on women's rights at that time?
  • What does Bell's town suggest about his attitude to women's rights and his relationship with his wife?
  • What sense do you have of the depth of the relationship between Bell and Mabel? Was this typical of most married couples of that era?
  • What other topics do they discuss? What other values of that time period do they reflect in their correspondence?